I’ve never met a person who didn’t care about how much they earned, but rarely do I find people who really know what they’re paying in taxes. This becomes incredibly important in the context of state politics, voting decisions, and local property/sales taxes in South Florida. Because we’re fortunate enough to not face a state income tax, many take for granted what's happened to us over the years by commonly voting tax and spend local politicians into place in South Florida. It starts with sales taxes.
Florida’s state sales tax is 6%. Anything above that level represents a tax increase by local governments. In South Florida, that’s exactly what we get. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties have all raised sales taxes to 7%, representing a 16.7% tax increase. That’s not uncommon statewide but when it comes to property taxes, there’s another big whamo. The average property tax rate by county is 15% in Broward, 12% in Miami-Dade and 14% in WPB. That's the percentage increase above the Florida average.That’s not even factoring in the higher the average property values creating higher tax revenues, prior to charging higher tax rates.
The point is this. As much as many South Florida politicians like to blame Tallahassee or the rest of the state for whatever ails them, including policies designed to limit the ability for local politicians to tax Floridians out of their homes and restrict property rights, among others. The only policies keeping South Florida from being as overbearing as high tax locations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are the politicians from the rest of the state. We should all be thankful. But first, that requires not being ignorant about what we’re paying and voting for locally.
In addition to having local sales taxes that are 17% higher than required and property tax rates that are 12%-15% higher than the rest of the state on average, we also see the highest gas taxes charged by law in South Florida. It’s real money and if the rest of Florida can manage on a relative basis with taxes that are substantially lower, perhaps it’s time we paid closer attention and voted more wisely here at home. So, what does this mean to you? If South Florida simply had an average tax burden, you’d have an extra $664 in your pocket this and every year, based on your household income of approx. $54,000. The total tax burden, in just local taxes, for the average South Floridian is about $4,200 in 2020. That’s nearly 8% of your pretax federal earnings. Elections have consequences and I’m sure every South Floridian would take an extra $600-$700 per year if given the opportunity. Perhaps you should vote for it.
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